By: Tanya Ward Goddman
My yoga teacher talks a lot about focus. She talks about commitment and about discipline. Much of the time, she is talking about committing to a pose, focusing on my breath, having the discipline to stick with my practice even though I’d rather be in bed eating Pop Tarts, but because she is a great yoga teacher, she is also talking about staying focused and disciplined outside of the studio. When she talks about creative or professional goals and the intense amount of discipline it takes to actually reach these goals, I usually feel as though she is talking right to me.
I’ve been tackling the re-write of my novel and it is so not fun that I spend a lot of my “writing” time doing anything but. I eat crackers, I check my e-mail, I look up plane tickets to places for imaginary vacations, I shop online, I eat more crackers… You get the picture. And pretty soon, it is time to pick up the kids and the afternoon slides away to evening and their bedtime precedes mine by a few brief seconds and the next day the whole thing begins again.
So I’m working on staying focused. Today, I sat in my chair in front of my computer and I wrote. Or thought about writing, or wrote and deleted what I wrote. It doesn’t really matter how much I actually accomplished (though I’ll say it was more than I expected) but what matters is that I stayed fairly true to my course. Yes, I did eat a bunch of crackers and yes, I paid the gas bill early just because I needed to do something else, but for the most part, I stuck with my plan and stayed in the groove until it was time to get the kids.
I rewarded myself (and our poor, patient dog) with a long walk in the sunshine. It felt good to be outside, looking at flowers and trees and people. My brain, which had spent the whole day thinking about writing, felt free to think about anything or nothing and the cool breeze felt good on my skin.
The kids were happy to see me and because I had spent a day focused on something that is totally about me instead of doing laundry or grocery shopping or paying bills, I was happy to see them. We walked home together and their brains got a rest from thinking about school and they looked for bugs and picked dandelions and skipped over the cracks in the sidewalk.
When we got home, everyone was tired in a good way and because of that, homework went quickly and easily, giving me time to throw together a pizza crust and rummage through the vegetable drawer for toppings. And now I am still writing and my son is playing a game and my daughter is looking at a book and we are all together and doing our own thing.
Focus, commitment and discipline. I am learning it. I am modeling it. I am reaping the rewards.